People of wisdom are admired; people of wealth are envied; people of power are feared, but only people of character are trusted. Tergiversation . . .

People of wisdom are admired; people of wealth are envied; people of power are feared, but only people of character are trusted.

Tergiversation . . .

Life is a series of disappointments: Betty Crocker isn’t real, sour grapes aren’t; millionaires take social assistance, some senators work, and tergiversation is coming.

In a Hagar the Horrible cartoon awhile ago, a character said, “As your lawyer, allow me to clear up this matter for you … in most cases, the defendant supersedes the pro bono factors unless, and until the plaintiff decides to coagulate the judicial pontification of all parties involved.”

To which Hagar is shown thinking, “I’m SO glad he cleared up that matter for me!”

Tergiversation at work!

A clipping from columnist Philip Howard of the Times accuses writers of ‘hijacking’ specialist terms and using them in a vague way.

“Such bafflegab crutch words are ugly chimneys belching semantic smoke to pollute the atmosphere of understand. If we mock them hard enough, let us hope they become laughing stocks, and eventually die of shame,” he wrote.

Tergiversation at work shuffling, shifting, evading, or if you prefer the dictionary version: 1) evasion of straightforward action or clear-cut statement; equivocation; 2) desertion of a cause, position, party, or faith.

So if the Blues can get the Reds, Orange, Greens, Blocs, and Turncoats, (since they too are included), to take a stand on a matter of national importance our merry band of 301 bon vivant’s will soon be shufflin’ among us with an encyclopedia of words, facts, and factoids, and promises, oodles of promises.

Promises including, ‘cloud-cuckoo-land,’ buried in vulpine, fustian speeches, filled with cozen wheedlings, aimed at expiating past shenanigans, real or imagined, seeking our favour in the voting booth.

For those about to test their mettle, and ours, knocking on our doors, a few lines from Longfellow, which could be useful to carry on the hustings, since you’ll meet a lot of them:

His brow is wet with honest sweat

He earns whate’er he can

And looks the whole world in the face

For he owns not any man.

Granted, not all citizens will fit that bill, just as we pray Leigh Hunt’s belief that, “the same people who can deny others everything are famous for refusing themselves nothing,” will fit not one of the new 301 MPs we choose. This is not a new plea, since he said that before he died in 1859.

Election campaigns are like cleaning windows. The dirt is always on the other side.

A tip of the hat to daily desk calendars without which I’d have never met tergiversation, or the other elder, seldom used words: vulpine: foxy, crafty; fustian: high flown or affected writing or speech; cozen: to gain by artful coaxing or tricky deception; expiate: to extinguish the guilt incurred by; and cloud-cuckoo-land: whimsical or foolish behaviour.

P.S. So here I am listening, filled with hope, that our Squabble House on the Hill will once more become a House of Decorum and true democratic debate filled with trustworthy people.

Then comes a knot in my knickers of hope reading that Liberal Senate leader Hays has relegated the Gomery crimes to “mischief,” and that our National Capital Commission passed a law in 1967 imposing “six months imprisonment for anyone carrying a torpedo along The Driveway in Ottawa.”

Hope is dashed, I’m ion cloud-cuckoo-land, ready to embrace Brendan Behan’s political leanings: “I have total irreverence for anything connected with society except that which makes the roads safer, the beer stronger, the food cheaper, and the old men and old women warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.”

Oh well, if an election is thrust upon us, at least it’ll keep us indoors and out of the rain.

As clumsy and convoluted as it is at times, a hearty tip of the hat to democracy! Watching today’s world in action you know Churchill was right: “Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.” (House of Commons speech, November 11, 1947)

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced two new cases of COVID-19 on May 11. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Two new cases of COVID-19 reported, one in the Yukon and one Outside

One person is self-isolating, the other will remain Outside until non-infectious

Courtesy/Yukon Protective Services Yukon Wildland Fire Management crews doing a prescribed burn at the Carcross Cut-Off in May 2020.
Prescribed burns planned near Whitehorse neighbourhoods to improve wildfire resistance

Manual fuel removal and the replacement of conifers with aspens is also ongoing.

Chloe Tatsumi dismounts the balance beam to cap her routine during the Yukon Championships at the Polarettes Gymnastics Club on May 1. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Gymnasts vie in 2021 Yukon Championships

In a year without competition because of COVID-19, the Polarettes Gymnastics Club hosted its Yukon Championships.

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Yukon Budget 2.0

If the banks that finance the Yukon’s growing debt were the only… Continue reading

The deceased man, found in Lake LaBerge in 2016, had on three layers of clothing, Dakato work boots, and had a sheathed knife on his belt. Photo courtesy Yukon RCMP
RCMP, Coroner’s Office seek public assistance in identifying a deceased man

The Yukon RCMP Historical Case Unit and the Yukon Coroner’s Office are looking for public help to identify a man who was found dead in Lake LaBerge in May 2016.

Yukon Zinc’s Wolverine minesite has created a mess left to taxpayers to clean up, Lewis Rifkind argues. This file shot shows the mine in 2009. (John Thompson/Yukon News file)
Editorial: The cost of the Wolverine minesite

Lewis Rifkind Special to the News The price of a decent wolverine… Continue reading

Letters to the editor.
Today’s mailbox: border opening and Yukon Party texts

Dear Premier Sandy Silver and Dr Hanley, Once again I’m disheartened and… Continue reading

Fire chief Jason Everett (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City launches emergency alert system

The city is calling on residents and visitors to register for Whitehorse Alert

Two young orienteers reach their first checkpoint near Shipyards Park during a Yukon Orienteering Association sprint race May 5. (John Tonin/Yukon News)
Orienteers were back in action for the season’s first race

The Yukon Orienteering Association began its 2021 season with a sprint race beginning at Shipyards.

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at issues discussed by Whitehorse city council at its May 3 meeting and the upcoming 20-minute makeover.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland met with MP Larry Bagnell and representatives from the Tourism Industry Association via Zoom on May 4. (Facebook)
Deputy Prime Minister talks tourism in “virtual visit” to the Yukon

Tourism operators discussed the budget with Freeland

Polarity Brewing is giving people extra incentive to get their COVID vaccine by offering a ‘free beer’ within 24 hours of their first shot. John Tonin/Yukon News
Polarity Brewing giving out ‘free’ beer with first COVID vaccination

Within 24 hours of receiving your first COVID-19 vaccine, Polarity Brewing will give you a beer.

Most Read